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The Value of Connect Care

For those unfamiliar with the world of access control, when introduced it can often be a little overwhelming. Customers who are interested in strengthening and streamlining their security infrastructure will find that access control is typically one of the first upgrades to be considered, and depending on the product chosen, ultimately will determine how effective it proves to be for their business. When questions or concerns arise about access control products or services, there can often be a disconnect or a delay in between the customer and the integrator as the integrator may be occupied with other customers or may need to refer to the manufacturer for specific information, thus creating a gap.  Open Options does things a little differently. Enter, Connect Care. 

Connect Care creates the most connected experience in the security market, going above and beyond to connect customers with best-in-class technical capabilities, personalized services, and the most advanced open platform access control solution on the market today. Trusted for its market-leading services and support, Open Options has invested significantly in Connect Care to provide customers with a unique, 360-degree experience, always advancing them forward. 

“Connect Care represents the next level of customer care, and is responsible for bringing valuable info pertaining to our cloud-based access control solution, DNA Fusion,  directly to our customers as efficiently as possible,” said Chuck O’Leary, President, Open Options. “Connect Care spans across our four company-wide pillars to bring unparalleled service that empowers our customers to have what they need when they need it.” 

The Four Pillars of Connect Care 

Open Options operates in regard to four main customer-oriented pillars: technical support, platform support, professional services, and training. We believe that providing these options for our customers better equips them with the knowledge and expertise of DNA Fusion, and their access control system as a whole. 

Technical Support 

This service connects customers directly to a team of experts in the technical profession for a quick resolution of challenges or issues – with a qualified, experienced professional at the other end of the line. Tech support is a core competency of Open Options, having invested heavily in assembling a team of the most qualified and most talented technical support professionals in the physical access control industry. By providing a direct connection with those that understand the ins-and-outs of our technology, it empowers us to be a true partner, not just a provider. 

Platform Support 

This service connects customers to Open Options' flagship access control platform, DNA Fusion, interfacing seamlessly with leading security technologies and providing end-to-end platform support. Our annual software maintenance service provides significant ongoing value to our customers at a fraction of the original purchase price, and also supplies exclusive access to the rich resources on Open Options’ secure web portal, including value-added downloads and advanced ‘how-to’ videos for system users.

Professional Services 

This service connects customers to Open Options professional services for help with complex IT-related tasks, tapping into on-site services, remote support, redundancy services, custom reports and database services. It also augments the reporting functionality of DNA Fusion with add-on custom report creation capabilities to fulfil specialized reporting requirements

Training 

Training is one of our core missions. It connects customers and partners with the most extensive education tools to empower you to take full advantage of your investments. . Our training program is state-of-the-art, highly respected, and provides methodologies available both online and on-site. Continuous learning is at the heart of Open Options’ commitment to training users on the latest innovations, new fixes to existing problems, and more efficient, time saving ways to connect all aspects of an end-to-end security solution. 

Connect Care Mobile

Open Options also recently created the Connect Care app as a direct connection for customers who are seeking information about Open Options products and solutions for use while working in the field daily. The application will provide the user with immediate access to documentation, education, support, media, and live chat with Open Options.

Before an organization commits to an access control product or integrator, it’s vital to ensure that the  product will be able to scale as the business grows, and that the provider will be knowledgeable and dependable when customers have questions or concerns regarding their access control system. Customer support needs to be at the forefront of the relationship if the partnership is to be successful, and Open Options is dedicated to providing a robust, and scalable access control solution, while keeping customer service at the heart of our operations.

COVID-related Changes Lead to Need for More Training

Because of COVID-related changes that shifted responsibilities, an end-user customer became increasingly responsible for being more hands-on with managing his organization’s access control solution: DNA Fusion. He knew the basics but, if he was going to be successful, he knew he needed a better understanding of the correlation between hardware and software. He immediately signed up for an in-person training class at Open Options to learn what he needed to know.

To his delight, Open Options customized the training for him. “Our direct support customer came to class with a list of questions and issues that his company was having and left with solutions and resources to use in the future,” said Brittany Tate, Technical Trainer at Open Options. “Instead of making the class cookie-cutter, we adjusted the course to link his list of questions with the topics we were discussing.”

He first attended a one-day wiring class and then the traditional three-day “Essentials” training.  An example of the type of questions the customer brought to class is: "My door always gives me false alarms when we have to replace the door contact. Honestly, I don’t really know what that is or how it’s used in the software.”

In the class, Brittany wired up a door with the customer, explained where the door contact is added in the DNA Fusion software, and demonstrated how to momentarily disarm any door forced/door held alarms until the door is fixed. This hands-on approach helped solidify the concepts for the participant.

The customer stated, “I really feel like we’re building from the ground up,”. The training broke down everything into repeatable tasks of good habits as well as troubleshooting techniques. The sessions covered common scenarios that occur in the field, including situations with dipswitch settings and various jumper settings.

“The customer left with a firm understanding of the big picture of both the software and the hardware,” explained Brittany. “He mentioned how having all of the resources and physical hardware at his workstation allowed him to make mistakes and troubleshoot in a controlled environment. Towards the end, he mentioned, “I’m excited to go back to my office and finally understand how everything is connected together.”

Through the Open Options training, the customer was equipped to anticipate and be able to fix problems before they even occur.

New Training Certification Program Helps Canadian Dealers “Cross the Border” Virtually

As the pandemic continues to limit people’s ability to travel, the Training department within Open Options has taken its training programs online to benefit dealers and system users.

Recently, Open Options offered its first ConnectEd iLearn Essentials Certification program as a digital experience, accommodating the urgent need of a Canadian dealer who has several DNA Fusion installations coming up. The online training from our U.S. operation allowed the dealer to virtually “cross the border” to acquire the knowledge necessary to get new sites up and running.

“This new certification format provides the same hands-on, personalized training that Open Options is known for conducting,” said Sherinda Barrow, Director, Education Services  at Open Options. “One of the students commented that the training was the best webinar they had attended during this strange time of the pandemic and how he really enjoyed the interactive portion of the training.”

The online class is a mixture of lecture and hands-on lab exercises that build on each student’s system knowledge as the class progresses. Each student is placed into a VM lab session to configure their systems and get some practical experience. This gives the students the ability to attain the knowledge of the DNA Fusion product from the safety of their own environment.

With the success of the first iLearn Essentials class, Open Options is scheduling additional ConnectEd iLearn sessions on the Training calendar. The next iLearn Essentials session will take place on October 13th–15th. Class size is limited to four students and requires the students to have two (2) monitors to view the instructor’s computer and configure in their individual DNA Fusion system.

Please contact the Open Options training department to register for the iLearn Essentials class.

Training Was Never Like This

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and our customers look for ways to reopen their facilities safely Open Options training sessions have looked at a variety of new challenges and solutions. The ongoing training events, both online and in-person, have seen questions shift from normal installation and operating questions to the integration of medical devices, sanitization of facilities and mask requirement solutions. The Open Options training team shares snapshots of real-world, “new normal” scenarios and practical advice that have come out of these training sessions in this article.  

A recent Regional Essentials training class held by Open Options in Seattle (with appropriate social distancing and health protocols) highlighted a variety of options to meet the various needs of the customer. In one example, personnel are not allowed to enter an area of the building until the sanitization crew has thoroughly cleaned and sanitized that area. The class came up with the option to disable the general personnel time schedules until the sanitization lead had presented their badge at a specific reader. This would activate the time schedules associated with the organization’s other employees and permitted them to enter the area. The resolution required some additional programming in the DNA Fusion system but provided the customer with the peace of mind that their employees were accessing clean, sanitized areas.

One customer needed to suspend all personnel access to their facilities, except for critical staff. The solution came in the form of configuring the Override feature on doors and flagging the staff‘s card that required access to the buildings. Once the doors were placed in the Locked mode, only personnel with designated cards could obtain access to the facilities. This solution saved the customer numerous hours of cardholder configuration to limit access to the numerous buildings on campus.

The Open Options class also discussed the new integrated options from Splan (cloud-based visitor management software) to Wavelynx (card and reader solutions), as the Open Options training team looked for various options to accommodate the touchless access that so many customers are requesting.

“We implemented a number of these scenarios in class so that the students could plan out the solutions and configure their demo system to accomplish the task,” said Sherinda Barrow, Director of Education Services for Open Options. “The class enjoyed looking at the many options they could utilize to satisfy their customers’ needs.”

In another example, the customer needed to verify that all employees, contractors, and visitors had a mask on before entering the facility. They had posted a security employee at the entrance to temporarily unlock the door if the person was in compliance with the mandate. The challenge was determining the individuals that had access to the site from the visitors who did not have open access to the building. After some discussion, the resolution came in the form of a simple red and green LED that would notify the security staff of the person’s access. Once the cardholder presented their badge, the LED would turn green to signify the valid access request. If the LED turned red, the door was not released until confirmation of their visit had been established. This required some additional wiring however it was a quick solution for a real world issue.

Each of these unique scenarios demanded a different solution to accommodate the customers’ requirements during this critical time. One student remarked, “The Open Options platform is so robust I can meet my customer’s needs through the application.” The Open Options training team is committed to formatting the training classes to meet the audience's needs, even if that means stretching the class syllabus to accommodate all the topics.

If you would like to schedule a training session that focuses on your needs, please contact the Open Options training team.